logistics and simplistics of cloth diapering

I keep my stash of diapers, stuffed and ready to go, in the top drawer of the changing table/dresser.  On top of the table, I keep a brewed mug of chamomile tea, which I use as wipes solution, and a stack of cloth wipes.  Next to the changing table, on the wall, there is a hook on which I hang the wet bag for dirty diapers and wipes.

When I change a wet diaper, I toss it in the wet bag and put on a new diaper.  When I change a poopy diaper, I set it aside, wipe Emmett, toss dirty wipes in the wet bag, re-diaper and dress him, and set him on the floor.  I grab the dirty diaper, spray it off into the toilet with the diaper sprayer, toss it in the wet bag and wash my hands.

Every other day when it's time to wash diapers, I grab the full wet bag, dump it into the washer and toss the bag in after the diapers.  I add 1tbsp of Rockin' Green detergent, set my HE front loading washer to do a cold pre-wash, an extra-hot sanitary wash, and 2 cold rinses.  I push a few buttons and that's the entire wash cycle.  Before we bought the HE washer, I would run a cold wash first, with no detergent, followed by a hot wash with detergent and then a cold rinse.

Rockin' Green detergent has worked brilliantly for us.  You have to be careful which detergent you choose for cloth diapers, as anything with additives, like enzymes, dyes, perfumes, bleach, etc. voids the warranty on the diapers.  Rockin' Green was developed by a cloth diapering mom for cloth diapers and meets all warranty requirements.  It works great and we now use it for all laundry in our house.

When the washer is finished, I toss all the inserts in the dryer and hang up the covers on a clothesline I rigged hanging above my washer & dryer.  When everything is dry, I toss it all into a basket, stuff the inserts into the diapers and put them back in the drawer, ready to use.

That's it.  It is no more than changing diapers and an extra load of laundry every couple of days.  And it's actually my favorite load to do; gathering and putting together the clean fluffy diapers makes me happy.  Before I had Emmett, I thought that if I were planning to go back to work, I would not be cloth diapering.  I no longer think that.  I think it would be just as easy to use cloth diapers if  I was working and Emmett was in daycare. 

When I'm not at home, the process is not much different.  It would be very similar to what a daycare provider would do with cloth.  I keep a wet bag with me (a smaller version of the ones I use as a diaper pail), containing clean diapers and disposable wipes in the dry outside pocket.  When I change a wet diaper, I just put it into the main sealed pocket of the bag and that's it.  If it's a poopy diaper, depending on where I am, I will often just tuck the disposable wipes into the diaper, just as you would with a disposable diaper.  If I get to it when I get back home, I'll spray the diaper and toss the wipes.  If I don't, and there is still poop there, I'll toss everything in the washer on laundry day and just run an extra cold rinse before the wash cycle.  The disposable wipes can stay there; they just come out clean from the washer and I toss them in the garbage then.

In the past year, we have only used disposables for travel once, and that was for a trip to Florida by myself with Emmett in February to see cousins.  I chose to travel with disposables partly because I wasn't too sure of packing and traveling with Emmett at 3 months old and partly because my two cousins also use cloth diapers on their kids and I was trying not to put a tax on Maresi's washer with three cloth diapered babies at her house at once!  

Aside from that, we have traveled with cloth.  We've either had quick overnight or Friday evening - Sunday afternoon trips where we can store the diapers in the wet bag and wash when we get back, or we've traveled to family where we can wash diapers.  I keep a bag of detergent at my parents' house, to make it even easier when we're there. 

Honestly, I just can't say it enough:  cloth diapering is easy.  You buy diapers once and you wash and reuse them.  It doesn't have to be more complicated than that, but there are certainly choices and questions and issues and there is a huge online cloth diapering community for support and help and fun.  Tomorrow I'll tell you what I've learned about this community and what sites and boards are my favorite.


maresi said...

You totally could have washed your diapers here! I would not have minded in the slightest.

We went to Georgia for a week in August and brought the cloth diapers - the park had a washer and dryer and we just washed in the middle of the week. No biggie!

Anonymous said...

Are there cost benefits to using cloth diapers? Your logic has convinced me to consider this (despite the obvious time issue that comes with cleaning the cloth diapers), but I am not an affluent stay-at-home mom. Could a working mom afford this, time-wise (with a baby to take care of) and cost-wise? What do you think? Thank you!

Amy said...

Anonymous- there is absolutely a cost savings that goes with it. The initial investment seems like a lot, but most estimates say that you save $1000-$2000 over the cost of disposables in the long run, depending on the diapers you buy. It can be way more than that if you choose a cheap option like Econobum, which costs $100 for enough diapers to diaper a baby. Those diapers are not quite as simple as some others, but they are still pretty easy to use.

If you want to send me an email at notanonlychild@gmail.com, I would be more than happy to talk to you about what I know and help point you in the right direction!

Good luck!

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